Things to Do

October Art Roundup

Our list of exhibits, events, and other art happenings worth checking out this month

Colin Powell and Whoopi Goldberg are just two of the 50 influential African-Americans featured in the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit, “The Black List.”  Photographs courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

There are a number of diverse, fascinating, and thoughtful shows opening at museums this month. October 2 through March 4, the National Gallery celebrates American photographer Harry Callahan in a West Building show. “Harry Callahan at 100” gathers 100-plus photographs by the Detroit native, known for his evocative, minimalist approaches to landscapes and people. For more information, visit the National Gallery’s Web site.

“30 Americans” opened at the Corcoran last weekend, with an impressive array of work by some of the most influential and innovative African-American artists of the last three decades—from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Kehinde Wiley. Running parallel to the exhibition are two smaller showcases of work by Hank Willis Thomas and Gordon Parks; read our take here. Entrance is $10; for more information, visit the Corcoran’s Web site.

Curious about the interior of Washington’s most famous address? October 1 through May 6 at the Renwick Gallery, “Something of Splendor: Decorative Arts from the White House” allows a peek at some 95 objects from the interior of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, including furniture, ceramics, textiles, glass, and more. More more information, visit the Renwick Gallery’s Web site.

Opening at the Textile Museum October 15 is “Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa,” with more than 50 examples of 19th- and 20th-century works from the Kuba Kingdom, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Suggested donation $8. For details, visit the Textile Museum’s Web site.

Photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders was once told by director Alfred Hitchcock, “Young man, your lights are all wrong.” Luckily, Greenfield-Sanders persevered, and is now one of the most acclaimed portraitists in the United States—his images often appear in Vanity Fair, where he’s a contributing photographer. October 28 through April 22, “The Black List,” 50 of his photographs of well-known African-Americans, is at the National Portrait Gallery. For information, visit the Portrait Gallery’s Web site.

It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing something about Warhol this month, but in case you have, both “Warhol: Headlines” at the National Gallery and “Andy Warhol: Shadows” at the Hirshhorn are well worth seeing. Our coverage of of the “Headlines” exhibit is here, and “Shadows” is here. Information on both can be found at the National Gallery’s Web site and the Hirshhorn’s Web site. At the Phillips Collection, “Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint” opened last week—read our review here, or find more information at


On display through October 30 at the Italian Embassy, “Regions of Italy” showcases 150 years of Italian art since the country’s 1861 reunification, including artists such as Giovanni Fattori, Giacomo Favretto, Costantino Nivola, and Fabrizio Clerici. Each Italian region is represented by its own artist, and the exhibition is updated and displayed every 50 years. Weekdays only, 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM; free. For more information, visit the Italian Embassy’s Web site.

The National Gallery’s epic Joan Miró show doesn’t open till next year, but fans can whet their appetite by heading to the East Building, where Miró’s giant triptych “Mural Painting I-III” was recently installed. For details, and more on the painting, visit

At Strathmore this month, “Building Bridges, Not Fences” takes a look at the evolution of photography, from darkrooms to pixels. The show has three parts: landscapes, locations, and symbols photographed by Americans Bruce Barnbaum, Dean Kessmann, and Bruce McKaig; images of daily interactions between Arabs and Jews photographed by Israeli artists Shai Aloni and Ammar Younis; and pictures of Cuba captured by three Cuban photographers (María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Enrique de la Uz, and Pedro Abascal) and one Cuban-American (Nestor Hernández). Through November 5; for more information visit Strathmore’s Web site.

Artisphere has a number of different shows this month, including “Data/Fields,” a series of new media installation works by four international artists and one American (through November 27); a new work created for Arlington County’s Art Bus by Alexandria resident Victor Ekpuk (through October 23); and “Contrasts,” an exhibition of photographs of the Colorado landscape by Andrew Zimmermann (through November 12). For details, visit Artisphere’s Web site.

Local photographer Tom Wolff has a solo show at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery opening October 28, featuring his portraits of different U Street characters (DC Councilmember Jack Evans makes a cameo). Wolff has previously shot for the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, House & Garden, and, yes, even The Washingtonian. Through December 17. For more information, visit the Joan Hisaoka Gallery’s Web site.

DC’s Flashpoint Gallery presents “Site Aperture” through November 5. The exhibition features site-specific installations designed by four female artists: Margaret Boozer, Mia Feuer, Talia Greene, and Mariah Anne Johnson. All four were challenged to subvert the idea of the typical gallery space, using materials from earth and clay to Styrofoam and wallpaper. For details, visit Flashpoint’s Web site.



Artisphere celebrates its first birthday this weekend with a Saturday night party and a Sunday open house. The 1 Party features download-ready music from six different musicians and DJs and a live performance of “You, Me, Them, Everybody” with Brandon Wetherbee. 8 PM; tickets ($15 to $30) available at Artisphere’s Web site. And Sunday, families are welcome to Artisphere’s open house to experience a wide variety of Artisphere’s programming, from Wheelchair Action Art and salsa lessons to an open rehearsal by WSC Avant Bard. Noon to 6 PM; free.

The Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series has teamed up with Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation to search for a new generation of cutting-edge visual artists. October 8 at International Visions Gallery, take a look at winning work by Washington semi-finalists, two of whom will go on to compete at Art Basel Miami in December. For information, visit the gallery’s Web site.

And finally, two events we love: After Hours at the Hirshhorn October 14, featuring The Crystal Ark with Nancy Wang ($25), and NOW at Night at the Corcoran, with music from Washington’s own DJ Spooky, on October 21 ($150, including cocktails, beer, wine, and a dessert buffet). Visit Hirshhorn and Corcoran Web sites for tickets and information.